Academic coaching half-day intensives are currently being scheduled for the summer! Call us at 804-435-6777 or e-mail email@example.com to discuss your needs.
Often this under-functioning exists downstream of flawed software they received during their formative years from influential people who probably meant well but contributed to self-defeating beliefs and behavior. These beliefs and behavior, in turn, often lead people to be less successful, less prosperous, and less happy than they might otherwise be. Coaching clients decide that it is time for them to be in the world differently. The right coach can help make this happen in a way that is agreeable to the client and cost effective. MORE...
Academic coaching half-day intensives are currently being scheduled for the summer! Call us at 804-435-6777 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your needs.
Adamantine: “Adamantine means a thing that is not tangible but when it is consumed makes anything unbreakable.” — from Thom Shea in Unbreakable: A Navy Seal’s Way of Life
Adamantine Lesson 1: Keeping your word
Adamantine Lesson 2: Facing your fear
Adamantine Lesson 3: Pushing beyond comfort zones
Adamantine Lesson 4: Creating love
Although Senior Chief and former Navy Seal Thom Shea writes about these principles (and a great deal more) as they pertain to training and performance in the Seal community, they pertain to any challenge — including the challenge to rise to the occasion and perform capably in a university setting that seems daunting as the first day of class approaches.
If your local Rotary Club, banker, Uncle Fred, and/or your parents provided money for your education, and you promised to do well, keep your word.
If you have a fear of being exposed as less well-prepared than your classmates, or if you have a fear of public speaking or talking to professors, face your fears. They will not go away unless you do something about them.
If you tend to spend time with students similar to you in background and interests, and if you avoid courses that are similar to courses at which you excelled in high school, push beyond your comfort zone and become bigger.
If you become aware that a classmate is struggling in some way and needs a boost, get focused on helping this fellow student in some way. Maintaining some degree of focus on things outside of yourself is a pretty good rule anyway. Work on finding some balance between personal improvement and making the world a better place is a pretty good rule anyway (i.e., creating love).
If you find these principles interesting, and you want to explore how they may apply to you, call or click at Chesapeake Coaching of Oyster Point Psychological.
— Andrew J. Billups, PsyD
The author of “Exceptionalize It,” Lior Arussy, told the following story today on “Your Business” (MSNBC at 7:30 on Sundays). The story illustrates how to turn adversity into opportunity.
A man enters a florist shop and orders a dozen roses to be sent home to his wife. He explains to the florist that he worked late, arrived home at 11:00 PM and realized he had forgotten his anniversary. He said he slept on the couch, his back hurt, and he started the day cranky and tired. The florist thought for a minute and asked if she could enclose a hand-written note apologizing for having sent the roses he had ordered several weeks ago to the wrong address. The man agreed and returned the next day to say everything was better than ever.
The florist suggested that the man provide the names and addresses of relatives and their birthdays and anniversaries, and she went on to say she would call him two days before each of these dates and ask if he wanted to send flowers. The author telling the story said that a $29.95 transaction had turned into $5,000 worth of business. The author of the book says we should often focus on emotion in customer care rather than logic.
Academic under-functioning in the classroom is often associated with mismanagement of time, poor focus, poor motivation, imbalance between work and recreation, and inefficient strategies (i.e., studying incorrectly and/or studying the wrong things). Academic coaching can be very helpful — even if it is very concentrated and time-limited.
Chesapeake Coaching is offering a three hour crash course in how to study. It is similar to our academic coaching mini-intensives, we offer at various times during the year. The course is individualized and results in a written summary of our observations and recommendations. We suspect that Spring Break works best for most (it really IS more important that that trip to Daytona) but other times are available. Rarely is it too late to get your chestnuts out of the fire. Let us help.
Sessions are held in person or via Skype or Facetime.
Call or click for details.
“State-dependent memory, or state-dependent learning is the phenomenon through which memory retrieval is most efficient when an individual is in the same state of consciousness as they were when the memory was formed.” — Wikipedia
In one of the first studies on what was to become “state-dependent learning,” researchers found that goldfish better remember a task they had learned if they are in the same “state” as they were in when they learned it. In the original research, the goldfish were taught that they could avoid a shock if they swam to one area of the aquarium when a light flashed briefly (i.e., signaling a need to move away from a pair of electric grids. If they were intoxicated when they learned the task, they performed better if they were intoxicated when the stimulus light is presented. Similarly, if sober when they were taught the avoidance task, they perform better if they are sober when tested.
This finding regarding state-dependent learning has been validated numerous times and probably explains why a stressed student can struggle to remember important information during a task and be unsuccessful — only to remember ten minutes later on the trip back home once the student begins to relax. Students sometimes ask if they smoke pot while studying, should they smoke some pot before taking a test. I leave it to the reader to answer this question.
By definition, academic coaching clients under-function in academic settings, and state-dependent memory or state dependent learning has something to offer. All students may wish to remind themselves of the importance of being disciplined in their activities in university settings, and, I believe, this is the preferred type of consciousness that is to be re-created.
I suggest to my coaching clients that they be well-rested, focused, self-assured, and optimistic during study and test-preparation and, similarly, that they be well-rested, focused, self assured, and optimistic during performance on tests, during presentations, and during classroom activities. By re-creating the type of consciousness that existed during study, a student is best able to retrieve what has been learned. Because performance sometimes takes place during times of exhaustion, anger, and fear, some training re-creates these situations to facilitate learning. Training for military recruits (e.g., Navy Seals), physicians, and pilots are examples of such training and education under less than optimal conditions.
I suggest that all students review the particulars of state-dependent learning and consider how this research best applies to their own circumstances.
— Andrew J. Billups
Academic Coaching for privileged children with a sense of entitlement can be difficult, because there is often a simultaneous expression of interest (i.e., on the part of the student and/or parents) in the student’s making better grades and putting more effort into studies, while the academic coach realizes that there may be no “price to pay” for the student’s continuation of careless study habits and amotivational behavior. The under-functioning student realizes that the vacations, the clothes, and the extra-curricular activities will continue to be unwritten by the enablers in the student’s life. What’s an academic coach to do?
During the winter break at a Virginia school, I once advised a couple to tell their child that they would no longer micro-manage the student’s academic activities but that if the student did not pull all grades up to “C’s or better” the student would be going to summer school. At semester’s end, when the student made two “F’s,” the student talked as if he would be going to the aunt’s home on the Florida coast for the family’s traditional month-long vacation. The mother stood firm in telling the son that he would be attending summer school and living with his aunt, while the family vacationed in Florida. The mother went on to say she advised her son that the cost of summer school would be coming from the son’s college fund and must be replenished if he were to enroll in school for the following Fall Semester. She said she would reimburse the college fund 100% for A’s, 80% for B’s, and 70% for C’s.
The mother told me she was opposed by her husband and the family in Florida — each of whom believed her to be harsh and unfair. She prevailed, her son made two “A’s,” and he returned to school with a new attitude and a sense of urgency as he interacted with professors and assignments for the duration of his university experience. Her family reluctantly agreed that her taking a principled position seemed to have worked quite well.
In my opinion, this is an excellent example of how to use natural-and-logical consequences to motivate students to put all required energy into assignments and permits the parents to empower the student to assume greater responsibility for quality work.
Academic coaches may wish to remind themselves of the importance of avoiding power struggles in recommending such a course of action — so that any failure is not the coach’s failure and everyone involved views failure as following from well-intentioned but misguided decisions made by the student and the parents.
As a matter of strategy and style, it is often helpful for the coach to write a letter to the parents (e.g., at the beginning of the summer) summarizing the coach’s recommendation and the coach’s role as a consultant to the family to assess the under-functioning behavior and put forth a plan for remediation. Oftentimes, such a success experience with this natural-and-logical approach becomes a template for upcoming challenges and helps the student internalize controls. Furthermore, it enables the student to accept credit for hard work and a new experience for academic excellence.
— Andrew J. Billups
NOTE: Some details have been changed to protect privacy.
The issue of how best to address past injuries (physical and/or emotional) may be the most common element of what motivates emotionally-damaged individuals to seek therapy, and the how, when, and in-what-form forgiveness might be possible.
I saw a poster several weeks ago advising “Don’t waste your time thinking about people you do not like.” This may be as good as it gets — especially when the offender is unwilling to acknowledge the offending behavior and/or is unrepentant. Issues of recognizing and grieving loss are usually central to issues of forgiveness.
I have also heard it suggested that spending time thinking about an abuser is much like allowing a tenant to live in your head rent free. This metaphor provides some comfort to abuse victims and it facilitates the injured party an opportunity to de-cathect the abuse experiences and re-claim some emotional capital. It has often been noted that hatred and pre-occupation with the abuser is another way of being inter-twined with when indifference is the preferred goal.
Terry Hargrave of Fuller Theological Seminary and the author of Restoration Therapy: Understanding and Guiding Healing in Marriage and Family Therapy suggests that there are four stages that therapists and clients may find useful as therapy helps clients move toward some degree of resolution:
(1) Insight — helping victims learn ways to stop the victimizer from perpetrating further violations.
(2) Understanding — focusing on the interplay between the history and limitations of the victimizer and the victim’s own emotional story
(3) Giving the opportunity for compensation — using sequential interactions to build a sense of safety and trustworthiness
(4) Overt forgiveness — victim and victimizer confront past violations and restore their relationship through dialogue
As the threshold of a new year rapidly approaches, perhaps the issue of forgiveness is particularly timely.
In a recent essay, Jeff Haden, provides one of the best lists of misused words and discusses how important it is to use these words correctly if one is interviewing for a job or a promotion or if only to further develop a mastery of the English language. Any number of these lists is circulating and worthy of consideration. His list is among the best.
He points out that, “Just like one misspelled word can get your resume tossed onto the “nope” pile, one incorrectly used word can negatively impact your entire message. Fairly or unfairly, it happens — so let’s make sure it doesn’t happen to you.”
He offers the following pairs that are often misused:
Adverse and averse
Adverse means harmful or unfavorable: “Adverse market conditions caused the IPO to be poorly subscribed.” Averse refers to feelings of dislike or opposition: “I was averse to paying $18 a share for a company that generates no revenue.”
Affect and effect
Affect means to influence: “Impatient investors affected our roll-out date.” Effect means to accomplish something: “The board effected a sweeping policy change.”
How you use effect or affect can be tricky. For example, a board can affect changes by influencing them and can effect changes by directly implementing them. Bottom line, use effect if you’re making it happen, and affect if you’re having an impact on something that someone else is trying to make happen.
As for nouns, effect is almost always correct: “Once he was fired, he was given 20 minutes to gather his personal effects.” Affect refers to an emotional state, so unless you’re a psychologist you probably have little reason to use it.
Bring and take
Both have to do with objects you move or carry. The difference is in the point of reference: you bring things here and you take them there. You ask people to bring something to you, and you ask people to take something to someone or somewhere else.
Compliment and complement
Compliment means to say something nice. Complement means to add to, enhance, improve, complete, or bring close to perfection.
I can compliment your staff and their service, but if you have no current openings you have a full complement of staff. Or your new app may complement your website.
Criteria and criterion
“We made the decision based on one overriding criteria,” sounds fairly impressive but is also wrong.
Remember: one criterion, two or more criteria. Or just use “reason” or “factors” and you won’t have to worry about getting it wrong.
Discreet and discrete
Discreet means careful, cautious, showing good judgment: “We made discreet inquiries to determine whether the founder was interested in selling her company.”
Discrete means individual, separate, or distinct: “We analyzed data from a number of discrete market segments to determine overall pricing levels.” And if you get confused, remember you don’t use “discretion” to work through sensitive issues; you exercise discretion.
Elicit and illicit
Elicit means to draw out or coax. Think of elicit as the mildest form of extract. If one lucky survey respondent will win a trip to the Bahamas, the prize is designed to elicit responses.
Illicit means illegal or unlawful.
Farther and further
Farther involves a physical distance: “Florida is farther from New York than Tennessee.” Further involves a figurative distance: “We can take our business plan no further.”
Fewer and less
Use fewer when referring to items you can count, like “fewer hours” or “fewer dollars.”
Use less when referring to items you can’t (or haven’t tried to) count, like “less time” or “less money.”
Imply and infer
The speaker or writer implies, which means to suggest. The listener or reader infers, which means to deduce, whether correctly or not.
Insure and ensure
This one’s easy. Insure refers to insurance. Ensure means to make sure.
So if you promise an order will ship on time, ensure that it actually happens. Unless, of course, you plan to arrange for compensation if the package is damaged or lost — then feel free to insure away.
Irregardless and regardless
Irregardless appears in some dictionaries because it’s widely used to mean “without regard to” or “without respect to”… which is also what regardless means.
In theory the ir-, which typically means “not,” joined up with regardless, which means “without regard to,” makes irregardless mean “not without regard to,” or more simply, “with regard to.”
So save yourself a syllable and just say regardless.
Number and amount
I goof these up all the time. Use number when you can count what you refer to: “The number of subscribers who opted out increased last month.” Amount refers to a quantity of something that can’t be counted: “The amount of alcohol consumed at our last company picnic was staggering.”
Precede and proceed
Precede means to come before. Proceed means to begin or continue. Where it gets confusing is when an -ing comes into play. “The proceeding announcement was brought to you by…” sounds fine, but preceding is correct since the announcement came before.
Principal and principle
A principle is a fundamental: “Our culture is based on a set of shared principles.” Principal means primary or of first importance: “Our startup’s principal is located in NYC.” (Sometimes you’ll also see the plural, principals, used to refer to executives or relatively co-equals at the top of a particular food chain.)
Principal can also refer to the most important item in a particular set: “Our principal account makes up 60% of our gross revenues.”
Principal can also refer to money, normally a sum that was borrowed, but can be extended to refer to the amount you owe — hence principal and interest.
If you’re referring to laws, rules, guidelines, ethics, etc., use principle. If you’re referring to the CEO or the president (or an individual in charge of a high school), use principal.
Slander and libel
Don’t like what people say about you? Like slander, libel refers to making a false statement that is harmful to a person’s reputation.
The difference lies in how that statement is expressed. Slanderous remarks are spoken while libelous remarks are written and published (which means defamatory tweets could be considered libelous, not slanderous).
Keep in mind what makes a statement libelous or slanderous is its inaccuracy, not its harshness. No matter how nasty a tweet, as long as it’s factually correct it cannot be libelous. Truth is an absolute defense to defamation; you might wish a customer hadn’t said something derogatory about your business… but if what that customer said is true then you have no legal recourse.
Jeff also devotes some attention to “those dreaded apostrophes:”
It’s and its
It’s is the contraction of it is. That means it’s doesn’t own anything. If your dog is neutered (the way we make a dog, however much against his or her will, gender neutral), you don’t say, “It’s collar is blue.” You say, “Its collar is blue.”
Here’s an easy test to apply. Whenever you use an apostrophe, un-contract the word to see how it sounds. Turn it’s into it is: “It’s sunny,” becomes, “It is sunny.”
They’re and their
Same with these: They’re is the contraction for they are. Again, the apostrophe doesn’t own anything. We’re going to their house, and I sure hope they’re home.
Who’s and whose
“Whose password hasn’t been changed in six months?” is correct. Use the non-contracted version of who’s, like, “Who is (the non-contracted version of who’s) password hasn’t been changed in six months?” and you sound a little silly.
You’re and your
One more. You’re is the contraction of you are. Your means you own it; the apostrophe in you’re doesn’t own anything.
Jeff speaks of a local nonprofit displayed a huge sign that said, “You’re Community Place.” This is not what the nonprofit has in mind, I am sure.
Jeff invites us to offer any words we might like to add to the list. You can post them here, and I will pass them along.
The adolescent-to-adult transition is one of the most difficult of all transitions, and academic coaching may have something to offer. As developmental psychologist, Erik Erickson, pointed out, this adolescent-to-adult transition is a time of preparing for adulthood and leaving the nest. Under-functioning in the classroom may be a manifestation of the young person’s lack of interest and/or preparation for the challenges of adult life.
One of the hallmarks of adult life is the ability to self-supervise. Getting classroom assignments done and delivered on time for the professor who assigned them closely parallels getting the work assignments done and delivered on time for the boss.
If (as Woody Allen says) “80% of being successful is showing up,” getting up, showered, and dressed for class is much like reporting for work on time. Mom is not there to help with punctuality when the individual in question is a student at a far-off university or an employee. The client may wish to get an alarm clock and not look to a parent or roommate to serve in this capacity.
For academic coaching to be successful, a great first step is for the client to establish goals that have the client’s fingerprints all over them. The client may wish to live independently of parents. The client may wish to have emotional attachments to others and not just “activity partners.” The client may wish to have a skillset that permits a steady revenue-stream that allows the client to pay bills on time and make some investments.
Once the client has established goals for his/her own life, the next step is plan development. Although the plan is certainly a work-in-progress and subject to tweaking from time-to-time, it is essential that this be the client’s plan, rather than a plan developed by parents, therapists, counselors, or coaches.
The third step is plan implementation. What role do community college courses play in plan implementation? How about jobs? Should they be part-time jobs or full-time? Should jobs be in furtherance of long-term goals (e.g., filing at an architectural firm, administrative services for an attorney) or should a job be simply something that helps keep the wolf from the door?
Coaching and mentoring are often more helpful if not complicated by other aspects of the parent-child relationship and can be formal (i.e., on a fee-for-service basis) or informal as the assistance that is provided by a trusted neighbor or family friend.
It is helpful to make as much of this academic coaching as explicit as possible, so that there is no confusion as to what is taking place. For all concerned, it is also important to monitor whether or not there is progress being made in attaining the client’s goal of negotiating the adolescent-to-adult transition.
Prospective coaching clients sometimes ask what academic coaching entails — what the coach does for (and with) the coaching client. Perhaps one of the best lists is that provided by the Academic Success Center at Texas A & M University. This list also corresponds closely to what a client might expect at Chesapeake Coaching of Oyster Point Psychological.
1. Provide students with skills and strategies they may need to become self-regulated learners.
2. Help students understand and use effective learning strategies.
3. Help students identify and overcome obstacles that may be impeding academic success.
4. Help students focus on individual goals and identify steps to reaching those goals.
5. Work with students to develop strong time-management and organization.
6. Motivate students to take ownership of their own academic success.
7. Monitor student progress.
8. Refer students to other services on campus such as academic advising, personal or career counseling, tutoring, or other services.
Although academic coaching via Skype and FaceTime is available at Chesapeake Coaching, students in need of coaching services may prefer opportunities for face-to-face coaching services available at many colleges and universities. A quick phone call to the local counseling center should provide answers to these and related questions.